Cloves and Fedoras is Seed Sings reviews for little known pieces of pop culture. Feel free to contact us with your own submissions of undiscovered gems that must be known.
This past Saturday I had the great pleasure of seeing one of the wildest, weirdest, crazy, scatter brained, satirical and best movie that I have watched in a long, long time. I took my dad to see "Sorry to Bother You", and boy did this movie not disappoint.
I had very high expectations for this movie. From the moment that I heard Boots Riley of The Coup, a band that I am a big time fan of, I even nominated them for greatest American band, had written and directed a movie, I was interested. I didn't need to know what it was about, or who was even in it, I was just totally stoked that a visionary, and political activist like Boots Riley was getting a chance to make a movie. That being said, when I heard who was cast in the movie, that made me want to see it even more. As you all know, I am a big time fan of the show "Atlanta", and when I saw that Lakeith Stanfield was starring in the movie, I was pumped. It also didn't hurt when I saw names like Tessa Thompson, Terry Crews, Steven Yeun, Jermaine Fowler and Danny Glover in the cast. Then the trailers started to some out. The trailers put all of the craziness and absurdity and wonderfulness that was this movie into the world. The trailers also made me realize who people like David Cross and Patton Oswalt were in this movie. I got advanced tickets and saw it the day after it was released nationwide. As I said, I saw it with my father, and a fairly crowded theater during a Saturday matinee. That made me happy from the start. The theater was not sold out by any means, but to see it about 1/2 full for an independent movie that was described as a "comedy, sci fi thriller", well, that is awesome. Maybe that means that more unique and cool movies will get a chance to be made. I am fatigued by sequels, remakes and super hero movies. It was nice to see something totally original. And, after only 3 previews, which I definitely appreciated, the movie started.
Now, I am not going to spoil anything, so I am going to continue very carefully with how I describe this wonderful movie. Stanfield plays Cassius Green. Green is broke. He lives in his Uncle's garage, Terry Crews played his uncle, and he is engaged to a performance artist that is also a sign twirler on the road. Green's fiancé is played by Tessa Thompson, and she shines in this movie. Her name is Detroit. She wears some of the wildest and coolest clothes that I have ever seen. She is an activist and she is just a beam of light whenever she is on screen. She makes all of her earrings in the movie, and they make it a point to say that, and to point them out. I loved that about this movie. Her wardrobe is also so hip and forward thinking, I would not be shocked if I saw people starting to dress like Detroit in real life. Anyway, Green needs a job because he is 4 months behind on his rent, and his uncle is about to lose the house. He gets a job at a telemarketing company, Regal View, and it is a struggle at first. Some of the scenes where he is making his first calls, where he literally drops into the home of the people he is calling, are so cool and unlike anything that I have seen. It was awesome. Green is struggling, and he is not making any money. The co worker sitting next to him, played by Danny Glover, gives him some advice. He tells him he needs to use his "white voice". He says that this will calm the people he is talking to, and they will be more willing to speak with him. I found this part of the movie very intriguing. I, and I assume many other people, just hang up on telemarketers. But, I wonder if the people that actually field these calls take them because of how the person sounds. It is a very great take on race relations, and only someone like Boots Riley could have pulled this off.
Green, now using his "white voice", which is voiced by David Cross, begins to crush it at work. He is selling whatever Regal View sells, it isn't very clear, and he is selling a ton. Amidst all this, Steven Yeun, playing a character named Squeeze, and Jermaine Fowler, Cassius' best friend, are starting to unionize so they can make living wages. This movie takes place in an alternate universe, and telemarketers in this world make far less than telemarketers do now. Cassius is part of their fight at first, but then he gets promoted to "power caller". This is where the real money is made. This is where Cassius can make enough money to help his uncle keep his house, buy an apartment for himself and Detroit, and furnish it with nice things. He is happy about this, at first. He then realizes what he is selling as a "power caller".
There is a company in this movie called Worry Free. They give people a job, a free place to live and free food, all they have to do is sign a lifetime contract, and work for them forever. It is essentially slave labor. Cassius comes to realize that, as a "power caller", he is only furthering and helping this awful corporation continue to thrive. But, since he is making money, he continues to go to work.
This begins to strain his relationship with Detroit and his friends. He is a scab. He may not realize it, but he is going against everything he believes in. He continues to cross the picket lines because he has finally found something that he is good at doing. He has struggled all his life, but telemarketing, with his "white voice", and selling things to random people on the phone, he is good at this. Needless to say, he and Detroit split. Fowler and Yeun want nothing to do with him. One day, while crossing the picket line, he gets struck in the head by a soda can. With all this happening, he continues to go to work, and to make Worry Free a ton of money.
Due to his success, Green gets invited to a big party with one of the owners or CEO or something of Worry Free, Steve Lift. Lift is played by Armie Hammer, and while I do not think he is a great actor, he is amazing in this movie. He is evil, a womanizer, a pig, a bully, a drug addict and just an all around bad guy. It is only when Cassius meets Hammer does he start to question what he is really doing. Hammer bullies him into free style rapping at a party. He essentially traps him in his home, and threatens his life when Cassius finds out some major news about what he is doing to help Worry Free continue to progress their laborers, who, lets just say, may not be all human. When Cassius learns of all of this, he decides now that he needs to fight back.
From here on out, if I were to say much more, I would spoil some major things in the movie. With that being said, you need to stay through the credits to get the full extent of what I am trying to get across without spoiling anything.
"Sorry to Bother You" is one of the most ambitious movies that I have ever witnessed. Boots Riley had a vision, and I feel like he decided he was going to put as much of it into this movie as possible, and that makes me so happy. He took all the chances. I mean, in this movie, the number one TV show in America is called, "I Just Got the Shit Kicked Out of Me". When they showed that, I was reminded of another one of my favorite, off the wall movies, "Idiocracy". But where the shows are similar, that is the only thing. "Sorry to Bother You" is much deeper, and way more in depth than "Idiocracy", and I adore "Idiocracy".
"Sorry to Bother You" is, quite possibly, the most original movie, with common themes, that has ever been made. The movie touches on class, selling out and race, but in such a unique and cool and visionary way. You must see this movie. You also must know, going into it, that it is weird and different, and there are crazy cuts and some of the wildest stuff you can think of times ten in this movie. But, it is all worth it. This movie more than surpassed my expectations. I saw it on Saturday, and I am still trying to figure everything out. The movie is open ended and lets you kind of decide what you think is right and wrong, and I love it even more because of that.
"Sorry to Bother You" is an amazing achievement, and I cannot wait to see what Boots Riley does next. What a gem.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He has had a bunch of crappy jobs that forced him to bother people. Never again will you see Ty knocking on your door asking if you have the latest in Video Cassette Recording experience.
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